Integration of soil moisture remote sensing and hydrologic modeling using data assimilation

Paul R. Houser, W. James Shuttleworth, James S. Famiglietti, Hoshin V. Gupta, Kamran H. Syed, David C. Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Scopus citations


The feasibility of synthesizing distributed fields of soil moisture by the novel application of four-dimensional data assimilation (4DDA) applied in a hydrological model is explored. Six 160-km2 push broom microwave radiometer (PBMR) images gathered over the Walnut Gulch experimental watershed in southeast Arizona were assimilated into the Topmodel-based Land-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (TOPLATS) using several alternative assimilation procedures. Modification of traditional assimilation methods was required to use these high-density PBMR observations. The images were found to contain horizontal correlations that imply length scales of several tens of kilometers, thus allowing information to be advected beyond the area of the image. Information on surface soil moisture also was assimilated into the subsurface using knowledge of the surface-subsurface correlation. Newtonian nudging assimilation procedures are preferable to other techniques because they nearly preserve the observed patterns within the sampled region but also yield plausible patterns in unmeasured regions and allow information to be advected in time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3405-3420
Number of pages16
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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